HUD Highlights E-Newsletter
HUD e-Briefs from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Mary McBride, Region X Regional Director (206) 220-5356
Leland Jones, Editor
! ! ! NEWS FLASH ! ! !
Mortgage company settles HUD-initiated complaint under Fair Housing Act on behalf of Kenmore, Washington doctor denied a loan because she was on maternity leave. Company to create $750,000 fund to compensate other women similarly denied. More online: (www.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/your-money/mortgages/01mortgage.html)
Owners of affordable housing properties are looking for a way to refinance their mortgages and to make energy improvements and other needed renovations at the same time can now do so through Green Refinancing Plus, an FHA and Fannie Mae program announced by HUD Secretary Donovan in San Francisco. Under the program, FHA and Fannie Mae will share the risk on loans to refinance existing rent-restricted projects while permitting owners to borrow additional funds to make energy-saving improvements to their properties. The agencies anticipate some $100 million in initial refinance volume with an average loan amount of $3.5 to $5 million. FHA will insure up to an additional four-to-five percent of the loan amount, or an average of approximately $150,000 to $250,000 per loan, to provide additional loan funds to pay for i) property improvements that save energy and water costs for owners and tenants, such as energy efficient windows and ENERGY STAR appliances, as well as ii) other needed property renovations. These "investments," said the Secretary, "will strengthen our economy, create the new industries and new jobs of the future and reduce our dependence on an ever fluctuating oil market." For more, visit HUD's website.
AFTER THE FLOOD
Now that President Obama has declared a major disaster for Bonner, Clearwater, Idaho, Nez Perce and Shone counties in Idaho that were "struck by flooding, landslides, and mudslides during the period of March 31 to April 11, 2011," HUD Secretary Donovan has announced the availability of HUD assistance to the State of Idaho and homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes. Assistance includes a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of FHA-insured properties, providing 203(h) mortgage insurance to homeowners who've lost their homes and face the "daunting task" of rebuilding or buying a new home, identifying emergency housing resources, offering Section 108 loan guarantees to state and local governments to rehabilitate housing, support economic development or repair public works and expediting the reallocation of CDBG and other funds to address crucial needs created by the disaster. HUD "stands ready to help any Idaho families whose lives have been disrupted by this natural disaster to recover and rebuild," said Mary Mcbride, HUD's Northwest Regional Administrator.
HOME, SWEET HOME
There are three things worth noting about HUD's HOME Investment Partnership. First, "HOME" is one of the only sets of initials in government that, unlike IRS or FBI, don't stand for anything. Second, HOME has just celebrated its 20th anniversary. And, third, during those 20 years, HOME's helped 69,357 households in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington bring a house or apartment up to code, assemble a down payment and closing costs or, in a pinch, help pay the rent when the ends just don't meet. Some people say government programs don't work. Others that programs like HOME should be scrapped. Anyone wanna bet these 69,357 Northwest households would agree?
Some150 leaders from Idaho's business, real estate, nonprofit and local government sectors join Sustainability Dialogue at Boise State University hosted by HUD, EPA and Department of Transportation. . .Telling Anchorage Daily News that "the idea of segregating people by ethnicity or income is a concept that just doesn't work," Cook Inlet Housing Authority's Carol Gore unveils "stylish look" of the new Lousac Places' 129 units - 75 for low-income, 44 at market-rates - that "will look more like a small town than the cramped, military-style barracks that used to be built for low-income renters". . .Oregon Opportunity Network names John Miller, formerly of HOST Development, as its new executive director. . .Alaska Housing Finance Corporation awards Retirement Community of Fairbanks the "final piece of the $7.1 million needed" to build the 20-unit, Raven Landing II complex for the elderly in the city's Weeks Field area. . . Chef David Lee's FareStart culinary job training program, says Puget Sound Business Journal, wins James Beard Foundations 2011 Humanitarian of the Year award. . .Seattle Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, says Seattle Times, approves "sweeping" $300 million makeover that "would replace Yesler's 561 townhouse-style apartments, designed in the late 1930s by some of Seattle's top architects, with up to 5,000 new apartments and condos". . . Oregon Housing & Community Services' Rick Crager says his agency will be one of five state agencies staffing new Regional Solutions Centers being established by Governor Kitzhaaber in Bend, Eugene, LaGrande, Medford, Portland and Tillamook. . .Thanks to funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and HUD vouchers, Tacoma Housing Authority launches McCarver Elementary School Initiative for 3-year test of whether housing stability contributes to lower student turnover and higher student performance. . .Bainbridge City Council okays, says Kitsap Sun, and Housing Resource Board begins clearing site for development of 48 unit Ferncliff Village affordable housing complex just blocks from the ferry terminal. . .Ada County Association of REALTORS wins National Association of REALTORS grant to convene first-ever Idaho Real Estate Summit and Oregon Association of REALTORS wins NAR grant to develop culturally-sensitive financial fitness programs.
The Bremerton Housing Authority is one of the smallest of the public housing agencies that have won one of the 260 HOPE VI public housing revitalization grants HUD's awarded since 1993. But it's not so small that it won't take on big jobs on-time and within budget. Five years ago, the City Council adopted a "vision" for the city's 541-unit Westpark pubic housing complex, built in World War II for workers at the Bremerton shipyard to transform it into a mixed-income community known as Bay Vista. Three years later, it won a $20 million HOPE VI grant. As of today, it's razed all 541 units, completed the 72-unit Bay Vista Commons, begun construction of the 68-unit Bay Vista South and, in May, celebrated the grand opening of the 83-unit Summit at Bay Vista. It is, says The Kitsap Sun, appealing new western "gateway" for the city of Bremerton.
While Bremerton's "getting done," Home Forward, Portland's housing authority, is just getting started - again. It's just won its third HOPE VI grant from HUD. It won $16.9 million in 2005 to build Humboldt Gardens and $35 million in 2001 for New Columbia. And now it's been awarded $18.5 million to tear down the 60 units of public housing at Hillsdale Terrace and replace it with 129 units of assisted and homeownership housing. "We're ready to hit the ground running," said executive director Steve Rudman at a May press conference announcing that Portland had won one of eight grants, "and begin work on building a brighter future for all of our residents at Hillsdale Terrace."
They're celebrating in the Seattle area, too, with HUD's competitive award of a $3,109,271 to the Seattle Housing Authority and a $3,029,773 to the King County Housing Authority as "seed" funding toward development of early childhood education and adult training facilities for public housing residents under the Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facilities. The Seattle authority will use its award to help transform the old steam plant at Yesler Terrace into an early education center. King County will allocate its award to three early education and adult training facilities at Valli Kee in Kent and Firwood Circle and Burndale Homes in Auburn. The project, Kent school superintendent Edward Lee Vargas told The Kent Reporter, "should improve educational outcomes for these kids by reinforcing, complementing, and enhancing the learning that goes on during the school day."
LEADING THE WAY
On May 20th there was a "play in peace" party at McCarver Park in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood. Just a couple of years ago, it was a run-down playground where no kids wanted to play. Then something terrible happened, something that 5th graders at McCarver Elementary never wanted to forget and never wanted to happen again. Read their story.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Saying "we are very impressed with" the City of Boise's new, "Good Neighbors + Fair Housing = Stronger Communities" multimedia fair housing campaign, Idaho Housing & Finance announces plans to distribute the materials statewide and added a fair housing option to the state's 2-1-1 system. . .Spokane Tribe of Indians celebrates grand opening of HUD-funded Pauline Stearns Early Learning Center in Wellpinit that's "not only" the "first green building on the reservation" but "was completed with almost 95 percent of work done by apprentice carpenters". . .Housing Authority of Portland changes name to Home Forward. . .Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity hosts Seattle town hall to discus housing issues and challenges of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. . .Thanks to a $150,000 matching grant Save America's Treasures grant, reports Idaho Statesman, restoration begins on 94-year old Romance Theater in Rexburg. . .Portland Housing Bureau celebrates grand re-opening of 139-unit Ramona Apartments for, says Commissioner Nick Fish, "hard-working" families. . .USDA launches on-line Food Desert Locator showing Census tracts with "low access to healthy food" (www.ers.usda.gov/data/fooddesert). . .Oregon Housing & Community Services, says Daily Astorian, awards $587,000 to Clatsop Housing Authority for first-ever renovation of Owens-Adair Apartments, the former St. Mary's Hospital, since its conversion to elderly housing in 1984. . .Juneau-Douglas High School students hold open house for home they began building last fall and plans already are underway for the next one to break ground this fall. . .Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Sustainable Building Network will host a free, self-guided tour of seven Corvallis homes to, says The Gazette, to showcase how their owners have "created a sustainable living environment" to "provide the push" to others "to get off the fence and start making" similar "changes". . .Washington Home of Your Own breaks ground for 8-unit, HUD-funded Willows at Melvin Place which will provide seven affordable units for low-income persons with disabilities. . .Village Gardens, the Janus Youth Project and Home Forward celebrate grant opening of the nonprofit Village Market, a place, says Oregonian, where "residents of the New Columbia housing development" finally will be able "to buy fruit, vegetables, meat and spices from a corner store in the neighborhood."
Everyone's familiar with the model Habitat for Humanity's traditionally used to help thousands upon thousands of American families to become homeowners - essentially, build a house from the ground up using the brains and brawn of the homeowner-to-be and lots of volunteers. The first project of the newly-formed Habitat chapter in Blaine, Idaho, though, took a very different approach. They heard the story of Aby and Jesse Rinella and their daughter Taityn. Abby was a teacher, Jesse in construction and they'd already bought a 1,100 square-foot "starter" home in Bellevue south of Sun Valley. "We had never missed making a payment in our lives," Aby told Sun Valley Online. "We had good credit." They were, said Sun Valley Online, "one of the least likely families ever to need Habitat's help." But then the economic crisis hit and the roof fell in. First Jesse and then Aby lost their jobs. Within a year, they'd gone through all their savings and their home's value had dropped $100,000. Time, said their lender, for a sale. It was hard. "Taityn kept asking me why people were coming to our home and talking about living in her room," Aby said. Fortunately, folks from Blaine County Habitat were among the visitors. They called the Rinellas a couple of days later and "suggested that Habitat buy the house, install a much-needed new roof and new carpet in a bedroom, and sell the house back to the Rinellas at a price they could afford." And that's what happened. It's not Habitat's normal model, but it's worked just fine for the Rinella family.
BAD TO GOOD
Earlier this year it looked like May 1st was going to be a bad day for some 200 residents of The Downtowner, a 9-story building in Seattle that opened in 1910 as a hotel but in 1971 became an apartment building. That was the day the owner expected to pay off the mortgage. With that, Federal would automatically end the HUD Rent Supplement assistance that, for 40 years, had made living there affordable for so many. Fortunately, as May 1st approached, HUD okayed a proposal from the Seattle Housing Authority to provide Housing Choice Vouchers to income-eligible residents. And that's when more than 20 Authority staff - including Interpreters for speakers of Amharic, Korean, Oromo, Tagalog and Tigrinya - went into high gear. Working in shifts, on April 25th they issued 175 vouchers and, four days later, the rest. "The issuance went incredibly well. I don't think we've ever issued that many vouchers in one day - I'm sure we haven't," authority Section 8 manager Barbara Strayer, "and I credit the housing choice voucher staff, as well as staff from other Seattle Housing departments, with making" the conversion "so successful." Thanks, too, to the City's Office of Housing, the Seattle Tenant Union, The Downtowner's owners and HUD's public housing and multifamily staff. Together, they turned a potentially bad day good.
Know somebody or some organization that's done a particularly great job "leading the nation to healthy homes, families and communities"? Well, here's your chance to give them the recognition they deserve. In conjunction with the June 22nd National Healthy Homes Conference in Denver, for the first time ever HUD will confer Healthy Home Leader awards a Healthy Home Pioneer, a Healthy Homes Innovator, a Healthy Homes Hero and a Healthy Homes Partner. Nominations are due June 2nd. For more, see website: (http://blog.hud.gov/2011/05/23/healthy-homes-leader-awards)
HUD's opened the competition for its Mortgage Modification and Mortgage Scams Assistance Housing Counseling grants to "support the delivery of counseling services to homeowners to prevent or resolve mortgage delinquency, default, and foreclosure" in order to preserve homeownership. $10 million is available - $3 million to local housing counseling agencies and $7 million to intermediary organizations. Services must be provided in the 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas with "the highest rate of home foreclosures." In the Northwest, these areas include Bend, Medford, Boise-Nampa, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue and Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton. Applications are due June 19th. For more, visit website: (www.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=
Saying it will help "forge new partnerships and develop strategies to meet the housing needs of low-income and homeless persons living with HIV/AIDs," HUD Assistant Secretary Mercedes Marquez has announced the opening of competition for $9.1 million in HUD Housing Opportunities for People with HIV/AIDS grants. Applications are due August 2nd. For more, visit website: (www.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=
In TWIN-NERS above, mention's made of some $6.1 million won by the Seattle and King County housing authorities in 2010 HUD Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facilities grant program to establish early childhood and adult education facilities for residents of public housing communities. Will your housing authority be next? On May 24th, HUD announced the opening of the 2011 funding round for the program. A total of $15 million is available to non-troubled housing authorities with the applications due July 21st. For more, visit website: (www.grants.gov/search/announce.do;jsessionid=
Oregon Housing & Community Services Individual Development Account Initiative is inviting applications for some of some $1 million in grant funds to organizations provide IDA's to underserved Oregonians. The application deadline for the grants - ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 - September 1st. There'll be information sessions on June 8th, 9th and 15th. For more, visit website: (http://ida.neighborhoodpartnerships.org/IDARFP2011).
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Four Freedoms House of Seattle one of 15 HUD-assisted multifamily complexes nationwide to win a HUD Emergency Capital Repair Grant. . .Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Service tells KPVI-TV that it's tool mobile which allows homeowners to rent yard tools for just a few dollars a day "goes a long way in making the community feel better and look better". . .Rose CDC wins $25,000 Oregon Community Foundation grant to support its Parent-Child Resource program in southeast Portland. . .Telling The Coeur d'Alene Press "it's one of the best days of my life," Carolyn Williams and her three teenagers move into their new home in Habitat for Humanity's Hamilton Woods subdivision that, beginning last October, was built with their "sweat" and help from students at Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Lakeland high schools. . .A year after breaking ground on the site of a fire-damaged apartment building in McMinnville, says Corvallis Gazette, the Corvallis Homeless Shelter Coalition's 8-unit Partners Place for the chronically-homeless will open in June. . .Clark County Food Bank breaks ground, says Oregonian, on $4.2 million, 18,000 square-foot distribution warehouse in Vancouver enabling it "to serve Clark County much better than we currently do". . .100-unit Clackamas Heights elderly housing one of 13 projects to win total of $88,000 in second year of Clackamas County's "Healthy Eating, Active Lives" grant program. . .Spokane Housing Ventures tells Spokesman Review it will "break ground" next month on $13 million, 120-unit workforce housing development on Moran Prairie. . .First residents are moving into Bridge Meadows in North Portland, Oregonian reports, a 27-unit affordable and intergenerational community with 27 apartments for people 55 and older and nine 4-bedroom "family homes" for people "who adopt a minimum of three children from the foster care system within five years".
THE PLACES TO BE
Last month, Northwest HUD Lines urged you to pencil-in the 2011 Housing Washington conference in Spokane from September 26th to 28th. That's still a great idea. Now we've got another one for you - take that same pencil and pencil-in the Oregon Housing and Community Services conference that's taking place in Salem on October 25th and 26th. You'll find more online: (www.ohcs.oregon.gov/OHCS/pdfs/HC-PostCard-2011.pdf)
WORTH A READ
Caroline Fitch is the resident relations manager for the Housing Authority of Portland. She "owns her home, eats out regularly, sees an acupuncturist once a month and appreciates a good glass of wine or whiskey," says The Oregonian. In April she went and put herself on a "money diet" for a month, pledging "to spend no more than $511, the average fixed income of a Section 8 voucher participant in Portland." How'd it go? Find out online: (www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/anna_griffin/index.ssf/2011/05/money_diet_gives_portland_hous.html).
QUOTE TO NOTE
"The list for federal public housing help is so huge, with about two families waiting for every existing voucher, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation announced last week it is shutting it down rather than give people false hope. Only a few vouchers get freed up each month, while hundreds of people might sign up for one. A family can wait for years. In the end, it means more people living on the street or in substandard conditions, and that costs the public money. About 60 percent of the list is made up of the elderly and disabled. The rest are low-income families. A sample three months ago, when the list was slightly shorter, found that 160 families waiting had been displaced by domestic violence, 872 were homeless and 242 were living in substandard housing. Of the people who are not elderly or disabled, about half are unemployed, according to AHFC. The rest are working. . .Why should you care about whether people have housing? Studies link unstable housing to criminal behavior, domestic violence, poor student performance, less access to health care, substance abuse, truancy, and a long list of things that end up costing the public money. Depending on your politics, you might also think a community has an obligation to take care of its children, elderly and sick. What to do? In a state that is flush with cash, we could spend some money now to save some in the long run. Some states supplement the federal housing program with their own. States also create incentives for developers who want to build housing that working people can afford to rent. Or we could spend no money and restructure our existing program. We could consider limiting the number of years that a family can use a voucher or slowly increasing the percentage of rent they have to pay. But any of that requires that the community pay attention. So far, for reasons I can't explain, our housing crisis hasn't gained much notice in the political world, even as social service agencies sound the alarm and more people wind up on the street." Columnist Julio O'Malley, Anchorage Daily News, May 16, 2011.
NOTES TO NOTE
HUD finalizes 2011 CDBG allocations. . .Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle says it will open on-line application process for $2.4 million in Affordable Housing Program funds on May 15th with applications due no later than August 1st. . . HUD sets June 1st deadline to apply for Section 202, Supportive Housing for the Low-Income Elderly grants. . .HUD sets June 2nd deadline to submit nominations for inaugural 2011 Healthy Homes Leader Awards honoring "those that have made significant contributions to making our homes, families and communities healthier". . .USDA Rural Development has set June 4th deadline to apply for the 4th quarter round of its Rural Economic Development Grants. . .Department of Labor now accepting applications for grants to support Stand Down events for veterans in Federal fiscal year 2011 and, "tentatively," 2012 and 2013. . .HUD sets June 6th deadline for housing authorities to submit requests to participate in Small Area Fair Market Rent (FMR) Demonstration Project. . .HUD sets June 8th as deadline to apply for $59.8 million in Housing Choice Voucher/Family Self-Sufficiency funds. . .HUD sets June 9th deadline to apply for Healthy Homes Production grants. . .HUD extends application deadline from June 9th to June 10th for deadline to apply for, Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control grants and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grants. . . Seattle Housing Authority sets June 9th deadline to submit comments on its proposal to simply Section 8 utility allowances. . .HUD sets June 14th as new deadline to apply for Asthma Intervention in Public & Multifamily Assisted Housing grants. . .HUD sets June 15th deadline to apply for almost $64.9 million in Indian Community Development Block Grants. . .HUD sets June 19th deadline to apply for Mortgage Modification and Mortgage Scams Assistance Housing Counseling grants in selected metro areas. . .HUD sets June 23rd deadline to apply for Section 811, Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities funding. . .HUD sets June 29th deadline to apply for $15 million in Family Self Sufficiency under the Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency program funds. . .HUD sets July 13th deadline to apply for $35 million Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency Coordinator funds. . .HUD sets July 14th deadline to apply for grants of up to $25,000 to assist doctoral candidates to "complete and improve the quality of their dissertations on policy-relevant housing and urban development issues". . .HUD sets July 21st deadline to apply for $15 million in Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facilities. . .HUD sets August 2nd deadline to apply for $9.1 million to meet critical housing needs of low-income persons and families living with HIV/AIDS. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services sets September 1st to apply for grants to provide Individual Development Accounts to underserved Oregonians. . .Home Depot Foundation sets October 31st deadline to apply for Community Impact Grants of up to $5,000 to support projects "using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their community," especially those that identify projects for "veterans, seniors, and/or the disabled."
City of Portland and Home Forward celebrate grand opening of Bud Clark Commons resource access center, June 2nd, Portland: (www.portlandonline.com/phb/index.cfm?c=53110).
RurALCAP hosts 28th Annual Rural Providers Conference, May 30th to June 3rd, Dillingham.
HUD Assistant Secretary for Public Housing Sandra Henriquez and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing Carol Galznte host Webinar discussion of 2011 Choice Neighborhoods competition, 10 a.m. Pacific, June 3rd.
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians hosts Energy & Economic Summit, June 6th through 8th, Ocean Shores.
HUD Boise hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Public & Tribal Housing Authorities, June 7th, Boise.
Oregon's Individual Development Account Initiative hosts information session on $1 million in supplemental grants, June 8th, Eugene: (http://ida.neighborhoodpartnerships.org/IDARFP2011/RFPInformationSessions).
HUD Boise & Idaho Association of General Contractors hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Contractors, June 8th, Boise.
Tacoma/Pierce County Affordable Housing Consortium hosts workshop on Washington state's new foreclosure mediation bill, June 8th, Tacoma: (www.affordablehousingconsortium.org/index.php/Calendar/).
HUD Boise hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for CDBG & HOME Recipients, June 9th, Boise.
Oregon's Individual Development Account Initiative hosts information session on $1 million in supplemental grants, June 10th, Portland: (http://ida.neighborhoodpartnerships.org/IDARFP2011/RFPInformationSessions).
HUD Seattle hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop, June 14th, Seattle.
HUD Northwest hosts Fair Housing Basics Webinar, June 15th.
Oregon's Individual Development Account Initiative hosts information Webinar on $1 million in supplemental grants, June 15th: (http://ida.neighborhoodpartnerships.org/IDARFP2011/RFPInformationSessions).
HUD Seattle & Associated General Contractors of Washington host Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Contractors, June 20th, Yakima.
Habitat for Humanity hosts Green Steps Sustainable Building Conference, June 21st & 22nd, Vancouver: (www.certain.com/system/profile/web/index.cfm?PKwebID=0x235715abcd).
Annual conference of Washington Asset Building Coalition, June 21st and 22nd, Yakima.
CASA of Oregon and Office of Rural and Farmworker Housing host 8th biennial Farmworker Housing Asset & Property Management Conference, June 22nd to 24th, Redmond, OR.
Rural Development Institute hosts Regards to Rural Conference, June 23rd to 25th, Corvallis.